No ‘distress sale’ for SAIL units including ASP Durgapur

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Protest agitation against union government's bid to sale ASP of Durgapur

Durgapur News Desk, 18 January 2017: Just when the labour unions at the behest of CITU (labour arm of the CPI-M) are preparing for a convention in Bhilai aimed at derailing the union government’s plan to sale the SAIL’s Bhadrawati, Salem and Durgapur (alloy steel plants), steel secretary informed that the government will not go in for “distress sale” of three SAIL subsidiaries.

During an interaction with the news agency PTI, Steel Secretary Aruna Sharma told that “None of these plants we will like to put as a distress sale. We will like them to come into profit and… better management.”

“When I am talking of making the share of the government 49 per cent, (it) is only when we get a good management… If not, there is no point it will take off on its own,” she added.

She further said that as of now, there is no proposal of strategic disinvestment for more units of SAIL. “It much depends on what experience we gain here (from the strategic sale of three units of SAIL),” the secretary said.

“This announcement of strategic disinvestment means a minimum of 51 per cent. So, it all depends on efficiency and it is subject to many things. It is under very very initial stages… Now as guided by Department of Investment and Public Asset Management, we will appoint somebody to do the evaluations… There are still a lot of processes it has to undergo,” she added.

During a regulatory filing in November, SAIL disclosed that the Government of India, Ministry of Steel, has communicated the ‘in-principle’ approval of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) for strategic disinvestment of the three SAIL units of Durgapur, Salem and Bhadravati. SAIL further said: “Disinvestment of these units shall be to strategic buyer(s) to be identified through two-stage auction process as recommended by the Core Group of Secretaries on Disinvestment.

Tasked by the Prime Minister’s Office with examining the viability of ailing state-owned companies, Niti Aayog had earlier submitted two separate lists of sick and loss-making PSUs: one comprising those that can be closed down and the other of those that should be privatised through strategic sale.

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